Bally Total Fitness in Court over Religious Discrimination

Sikh applicant for job at Californian gym was questioned about religion. Bally Total Fitness has been hit with a discrimination lawsuit that claims the Chicago-based fitness chain rejected a job applicant at a Fresno, Calif. gym on the basis of his religion.

The lawsuit from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was filed on behalf of Sukhdev “Devin” Singh Dhaliwal in U.S. District Court of Northern California after the federal agency failed to reach a voluntary settlement with Bally Total Fitness.

A Bally Total Fitness representative was unavailable for comment.

In June 2004, Mr. Dhaliwal applied for a sales position at the Bally Total Fitness center where he was a member. During the interview, he was asked a number of questions pertaining to his Indian origin and Sikh religion, which is a violation of federal employment laws, said Joan Ehrlich, director for the EEOC’s San Francisco district.

“After you are offered the job it is okay to ask those questions such as whether there are certain days you can’t work,” Ms. Ehrlich said. “In this instance, it was blatant discrimination.”

She added that Mr. Dhaliwal’s qualifications made him equal to or greater than other employees who worked at the Fresno, Calif. location.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages up to $300,000, a change in Bally Total Fitness’ hiring practices and staff education on proper hiring practices, Ms. Ehrlich said.

Show your disapproval by emailing Bally Fitness.